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Infected Ingrown Hairs Treatment

Most people who shave their body hair on a regular basis have probably had to go through the pain of dealing with an ingrown hair at least a few times in their lifetime. Ingrown hairs are a common problem that tends to happen when shortened hair grows back under the dermis rather poking out and growing back normally.

What Are Ingrown Hairs?

Ingrown hairs are strands that start to grow back and curve into the skin. They are more likely to develop after certain types of hair removal, such as waxing, shaving and tweezing. Ingrown hairs are common and are more likely to affect people who shave daily. They are commonly found on the face, underarms, pubic area and legs.

Ingrown hairs are also called razor burn or razor bumps. The following are common signs of ingrown hairs:

  • Small, pus-filled bumps on areas where you wax, shave or tweeze.
  • Itching
  • Burning
  • A visible strand of hair, in the shape of a loop, inside the bump.

If you scratch or pick at the bumps, ingrown hair scabs can form. Scratching the bumps can also expose the ingrown hairs to bacteria, increasing the risk of infection.

What Causes Ingrown Hairs?

Ingrown hairs are almost invariably a result of shaving or other temporary hair removal practices. Typically, when hair is shortened or removed, it grows back normally, but sometimes it doesn’t.

That said, some people are more naturally prone to experiencing ingrown hairs than others, and the texture of the hair itself can also contribute to ingrown hairs. In general, if the hair is coarse or curly, it might be more inclined to curl back under the dermis or be unable to penetrate through the hair follicle after it is shortened.

Unfortunately, when a hair starts growing under the dermis the body treats it like it would any foreign object, and responds with inflammation, which tends to go hand in hand with uncomfortable symptoms like pain, redness and itching.

It is also common for a round bump called a papule to form around the ingrown hair. These pus-filled bumps are the body’s way of creating the pressure needed to push the hair out, but this system doesn’t always work, and even if it does, it is probably going to feel pretty uncomfortable in the meantime. With that in mind, this article is going to cover some tips to help deal with ingrown hairs so that they can heal effectively.

Treating Ingrown Hairs

Often, the best way to treat ingrown hairs is to leave the area alone. Don’t shave, wax or tweeze the area. You can apply a hot compress on ingrown hairs to help soften the follicle and release the hair.  

Can You Pop an Ingrown Hair?

Just like pimples, popping an ingrown hair is not a good idea. When you try to pop the inflamed hair follicle, you risk exposing it to more bacteria and causing more irritation. Popping ingrown hairs can make scarring worse.

How Much Does Ingrown Hair Removal Cost at a Dermatologist’s Office?

If an ingrown hair is infected or causing you discomfort, a dermatologist can help. They may prescribe a topical treatment that helps to exfoliate the skin and release the ingrown hair. If you have an infection, they can prescribe antibacterial treatments, either topical or oral, to clear up any bacteria. 

In some cases, the dermatologist may drain and remove the hair for you if it’s causing considerable discomfort.

How much in-office treatment costs depends on your insurance coverage and whether you need any medications to help the infection clear up.

Ingrown Hair Prevention

For anybody who notices that ingrown hairs are a persistent problem, they might want to consider talking to their dermatologist in Palo Alto about the possibility of laser hair removal. This type of highly effective skin treatment in Walnut Creek is generally safe for almost anybody and can work to dramatically reduce the occurrence of ingrown hairs, if not eliminate them completely.

If you aren’t interested in laser hair removal, it can still be worthwhile to change your hair removal technique. Switch from using a manual razor to an electric shaver. If you continue to use a manual razor, change the blade often, as a dull blade can make ingrown hairs more likely to occur. Also, consider using shaving cream.

Try to reduce how often you shave to avoid irritating the skin. Before hair removal, exfoliate the skin using a soft-bristled brush or washcloth. You may also want to warm the skin with warm water before shaving.

Do’s and Don’ts for Dealing With Ingrown Hairs


        Temporarily pause any hair removal practices on or around the affected area until the ingrown hair has time to heal. Continuing to aggravate the area can lead to the development of infection or even permanent scarring.

        Exfoliate the skin. Keeping the area clean will help remove oils and debris that can block the hair in. A gentle exfoliant treatment can also help slough away dead skin cells to help encourage the hair to push through.

        Apply warm compresses to speed healing. A warm compress will encourage the hair to break through the surface and help speed and ease the healing process for the body. Try holding a warm washcloth over the area for five to ten minutes every few hours. It can sometimes help to rub a new soft-bristled toothbrush over the area to help slough away dead skin.

        Gently help the hair break through. Once the hair starts to emerge, a sterile set of tweezers or a clean needle can be used to gently encourage the hair to pull through completely. However, always avoid piercing or aggravating the area further. Only help the hair through it already coming out on its own. Also, try not to pull the hair out completely but rather give the area time to heal fully before removing it.

        Talk to a dermatologist in San Francisco. If the irritation persists, a local skin doctor in Roseville can prescribe creams to help soothe irritation, clear up dark skin patches or speed up the healing process.


     Pick at or scratch the affected area. Irritating the area can cause scabbing and scarring, which will make it more difficult for the hair to push through. Bacteria and oils from the fingers can also irritate the area and will make it more prone to infection.

     Squeeze the bump. The bump caused by ingrown hair can be uncomfortable, and many people are tempted to squeeze it to remove the pressure. However, this will not only encourage scarring or infection but will also interfere with the body’s natural healing mechanism.

     Pierce the area with a needle. It can be tempting to pierce the bump with a needle to try to retrieve the hair but irritating the area will cause it to scab or scar, which could permanently lock the hair under the skin. Thus, a person should only try to help the hair out if it can be done without having to puncture the dermis.

Knowing When to See a Skin Doctor in Northern California

If at-home treatments are unsuccessful or an ingrown hair becomes infected, it may be time to go see a dermatologist. When an ingrown hair is infected, the red bump around the hair may become particularly painful, tender to the touch or leak out fluid or pus. If this is the case, antibiotic treatment might be required to clear up an infection. Sometimes, underlying health issues are also to blame for ingrown hairs, so if they tend to occur frequently, it is a good idea to get a professional assessment. Keep in mind that a dermatologist can also help treat the ingrown hair safely and effectively. They might also be able to suggest a skin treatment that can prevent ingrown hairs in the future. For anybody who wants to significantly reduce their risk of developing ingrown hairs in the future, laser hair removal is often a great option, so don’t hesitate to reach out and find out more.
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